After Tesla reported a $1.5 billion investment, Bitcoin soared to a record on Tuesday above $48,000. That capped Elon Musk’s years-long cryptocurrency flirtation, which has played out mainly in Twitter memes, some of them moving markets.
The decision of Tesla to accept Bitcoin as payment for its electric cars may help bring the digital currency into the mainstream of global finance. But its famous volatility has led to regulators’ warnings that investors could be hurt.
Here are some key moments in the Tesla CEO’s enthusiasm for all things crypto:
For many observers it started when a blog post shared on digital-currency sites suggests Musk is Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious cryptocurrency founder. The billionaire rejects the claim and says he forgot where he put his Bitcoin.
Among a handful of accounts that were apparently compromised to spread a crypto scam is Elon Musk’s Twitter profile. Investors were duped into giving away Bitcoin worth at least $120,000, claimed by the hackers to be spirited away. In relation to the suspected hack, a 17-year-old Florida high school graduate and two others have been charged by US authorities.
That month’s billionaire tweets, “Excuse me, I only sell Doge!” This is seen as a reference to Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that originated in 2013 as a joke featuring a mascot of a Shiba Inu dog.
During a Twitter conversation with Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy, Musk asked about converting “large transactions” of Tesla’s balance sheet into Bitcoin. “Are such large transactions even possible?” Musk tweeted at the time.
Thanks in part to a Musk tweet showing a “Dogue” magazine cover, Dogecoin became a retail-trader obsession. Many users take that as another reference to Dogecoin, although no clarification has been given.
January 29, 2021
Musk adds “#bitcoin” to his Twitter profile page. Within minutes, Bitcoin jumps as much as 15pc, surging above $38,000, amid speculation that he might be a Bitcoin investor.
February 1, 2021
Speaking on the Clubhouse social audio app, Musk said, “Bitcoin is a good thing,” he said, adding that he was “late to the party” and he should have bought the cryptocurrency eight years earlier.
February 4, 2021
Musk is breaking his self-imposed hiatus on Twitter and sending a series of Dogecoin tweets. “No highs, no lows, only Doge,” he posted.
Dogecoin briefly touches a record after Mr Musk as well as fellow celebrities Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons tweet about it.
February 8, 2021
Tesla announces a $1.5 billion Bitcoin investment and a plan to accept electric car payments in digital currency. Bitcoin’s price gains more than 20 percent before the announcement.
The market value of Dogecoin now stands at around $10 billion, making it, according to CoinMarketCap, the tenth largest among cryptocurrencies.